I am increasingly convinced that in our polarized age, our most important convictions as Christians are God’s creation of all humanity and God’s redemption of all humanity.
In a recent article, ERB Contributing Editor John Wilson noted the prevalence of competing visions of the common good. This story of competing visions is nothing new, and at least as old as the story of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4). Between creation and redemption, we will have differing conceptions of how we live and move faithfully toward God’s redemption, and these conceptions will have consequences on human lives. But at all times we must remember that those whose life experiences and visions of the common good differ from our own are humans created in the image of God, who are loved by God and with whom God desires to be reconciled. Our politics and our ethics matter, but if we lose sight of the bigger picture of creation and redemption, then we have lost our way and are reduced to noisy gongs and clanging symbols.
With these thoughts in mind, I offer this list of books that re-orient us toward the bigger picture of God’s creation and redemption of all humanity. (All of these books have a particular perspective, and of course, none offers a full picture of what God is doing in creation)
Willie James Jennings
Award-winning author and theologian Willie James Jennings explores the relevance of the book of Acts for the struggles of today. While some see Acts as the story of the founding of the Christian church, Jennings argues that it is so much more, depicting revolution—life in the disrupting presence of the Spirit of God. According to Jennings, Acts is like Genesis, revealing a God who is moving over the land, “putting into place a holy repetition that speaks of the willingness of God to invade our every day and our every moment.” He reminds us that Acts took place in a time of Empire, when the people were caught between diaspora Israel and the Empire of Rome. The spirit of God intervened, offering new life to both. Jennings shows that Acts teaches how people of faith can yield to the Spirit to overcome the divisions of our present world.